Jon Philip Lee Nehl
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At 40 years of age the Lord sent a special helicopter to take Jon to be with him. Jon had come home to Springfield, Missouri to be with family when on December 20th, 2012 he lost his gallant battle with cancer. Jon was born on November 5th, 1972 in Manhattan, Kansas to Patrick and Rachel Nehl. Jon had a wonderful life with his wife Dana and daughter Willow. He was a Master Sergeant in the United States Air Force still on active duty when the Lord gave him his next assignment. Jon loved his family, the Air Force and Mini Coopers, but always had time to give you a hand. The Air Force had sent Jon to England, Okinawa, Kuwait, Iraq, Afghanistan, Kosovo, Romania and countries he could not tell us about. The helicopter that Jon was the Crew Chief for, a Sikorsky MH-53M Pave Low IV, tail number 73-1649, that went on so many missions has been retired and is on display with Jon's name and his nose art painted on it in the Pima Air and Space Museum in Tucson, Arizona. But, no matter where Jon was he would always touch the lives of those he came in contact with and they would be better for it. Jon had a wonderful sense of humor to the very end, even his last days in the hospital bed he made the Nurses laugh.
Jon graduated from Manhattan High School and attended Kansas State University for two years before joining the Air Force in 1993. While serving in the Air Force Jon received many awards that included the Meritorious Service Medal, Joint Service Commendation Medal, Air Force Commendation Medal with three devices, Air Force Achievement Medal with two devices, Joint Meritorious Unit Award, Gallant Unit Citation, Meritorious Unit Award with three devices, Air Force Outstanding Unit Award with three Valor Devices, Air Force Good Conduct Medal with five devices, National Defense Service Medal with one devise, Kosovo Campaign Medal with one device, Afghanistan Campaign Medal with one device, Iraq Campaign Medal with two devices, Global War On Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Armed Forces Service Medal, Humanitarian Service Medal, Air Force Overseas Ribbon Short and Long with one device, Air Force Expeditionary Service Ribbon with Gold Border and three devices, Air Force Longevity Service with three devices, United States Air Force NCO PME Graduate Ribbon with one device, Air Force Training Ribbon and the NATO Medal with one device.
When word got out of Jon's flight to Heaven in the early morning of 12/20/12, by that afternoon Dana had received over 800 text messages of condolences. Jon touched a lot of lives!
Jon is survived by his wife Dana and their Daughter Willow of Milford, Ohio. His parents Patrick and Rachel Nehl of Springfield, Missouri, his brother Bryan Nehl and his wife Denise of Jefferson City, Missouri, his sister Marcellina (Nehl) Brown and her husband Leegin. His four nephews - Nathan, Daniel, Legend and Corbin and one niece - Rayna. His Grandmother Verena (Nehl) Sapp of Springfield, Missouri. Russ and Diane Fediuk his Father-in-law and Mother-in-law and a brother-in-law Russ D and his wife Beth and a sister-in-law MaryAna all of Milford, Ohio. Jon is also survived by many Aunts and Uncles. Beatrice Ayon, Virginia Perbeck, Frances and Leonard Myers and Joe Vera of Manhattan, Kansas, Mary and Joe Yates of Cadiz, Kentucky, Theodore Vera of Bogata, Columbia, Frank and Debbie Vera of Arlington, Texas, Gerald Nehl of Marshfield, Missouri, Diane and Rick McCay of Saddlebrook, Missouri, James Nehl of Springfield, Missouri, Sister Bernadette Nehl, FSPA and three Special Aunts - Pauline, Carmen and Anita Silva of Manhattan, Kansas. And we can't forget Jeremy Rick Beck that Jon and his Brother Bryan did so much together while growing up and learning about life. A friendship that started in Boy Scouts went through High School and into the Military Service that continued until the Lord called Jon.
Waiting in Heaven for Jon are his Grandparents Frank and Elizabeth Vera, his Grandfather Francis Nehl, his Aunts, Josie Vera, Ernestine Arnett, Marcellina Vera Zarazu and Sister (Mother) Valerie Nehl, FSE.
Visitation will be from 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM on Wednesday 12/26/2012 at Greenlawn Funeral Home East. A Mass will be said for Jon at 11:15 AM on Thursday 12/27/2012 in St. Elizabeth Ann Seaton Catholic Church. The Military funeral will be held at 2:00 PM on Thursday 12/27/2012 in the Missouri Veteran's Cemetery, located at Lake Springfield. Reverend Thomas Reidy will be presiding over the Mass and the Funeral.
The family ask that rather than flowers that a contribution for cancer research be made to an organization of your choice in Jon's name or a contribution to the Pima Air and Space Museum in Tucson, AZ to assist in the preservation of Jon's helicopter.
Published in the News-Leader on Dec. 23, 2012